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On Sept. 11, 2001, al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden orchestrated a terrorist attack on the United States that killed nearly 3,000 people and injured 6,000. Nineteen militants associated with the Islamic extremist group hijacked four U.S. commercial airliners that Tuesday morning. Two planes rammed the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City and the third hit the Pentagon in Northern Virginia. A fourth plane, aimed for Washington, D.C., crashed in a field in Pennsylvania after the passengers attempted to win control back from the hijackers.
"Today, our nation saw evil," said President George W. Bush, who vowed retaliation. It wasn't until May 2011 that U.S. Special Forces killed bin Laden in a raid in Pakistan. Most media coverage and front pages of the 9/11 attacks depicted the striking images of the twin towers collapsing.
Ten years later, the twin towers remained the symbol of 9/11 and the subsequent launching of the War on Terror.
- EDCollection: "Freedom in the Balance"
- Twenty-two case studies explore the balance between protecting public safety and protecting First Amendment freedoms, a tension exemplifed by the effects of 9/11.
- Video Lesson: "Running Toward Danger"
- Journalists give first-person accounts of their coverage of the terrorist attacks on New York's World Trade Center.
Front Pages Sept. 12, 2001
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